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The Jericho Echo Online website is now being replaced by a more comprehensive news site 'Jericho Online' which also incorporates information on the Community Centre and the Community Association as well as Jericho in general.

This Jericho Echo Online site will continue to be available but is no longer being updated.

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Issue 73 — November, 2012

Dialogues on the doorstep

Doorstep surveyJCA Secretary Jenny Mann of Victor Street tries out her interviewing skills on Beatrice Lucas of Cranham Street. Volunteers will be knocking on Jericho doors. They will ask, for example, about how many people are living there.

A major survey will explore the future of Jericho

Residents now have a chance to give their opinions and ideas about this distinctive part of Oxford. This month the Jericho Community Association (JCA) will be carrying out an extensive survey.

This is the first step in the JCA’s ambition to draw up a community plan for Jericho which, if we can get it approved in a local referendum, and accepted by the City Council, will help us shape the way Jericho develops. How, for example, would you like to see Walton Street remodelled? Should we have designated play streets? What would you like to see in the new public square planned for the canalside development?

The process was initiated at the JCA Annual General Meeting attended by around 60 people. A number volunteered special expertise. One was Bee Hillier of Walton Street who is a doctor and clinical academic and has extensive experience in surveys on health-related matters.

“We started with focus groups. We went to the Saturday morning café at the Community Centre. There we talked to some of the older residents as well as several young families. Then we went to the baby and toddlers group. Then there was another group of council tenants. They all talked about what they liked and didn’t like about Jericho.”

That was the starting point for some of the suggestions in the survey, for example, about things that people would like to see in a new community centre.

The survey was designed by Peter Headicar of Richmond Road who is a town planner and has worked on many household-based surveys. “We have tried,” he says, “to do something substantial that will stand up when it comes to planning enquiries. The focus groups raised a lot of issues, so the form looks quite long. But the idea is that people will answer on the topics they are concerned about. Everyone should find something relevant to them.”

The questionnaire is going to more than 1,000 households, and has to produce answers that can be analysed statistically. In many cases, this means responding to predetermined questions by ticking boxes. Nevertheless there is also a lot of space to write in other ideas.

It is also important to ensure that the response is representative. Jericho is a very mixed area. Many people and families have been here for decades, and some for generations, while there are also many students and others who may rent houses only for short periods. There is also considerable diversity within houses, some of which are occupied by more than one family or a number of unrelated people.

This makes Jericho tricky to survey, since one group might be more likely to respond to the questionnaire than another. To ensure that we hear from as broad a cross-section of people as possible, we aim to talk to around half of households to encourage people to complete the survey. All residences will get at least one form.

The process does not involve recording names and addresses, since we only need to know about Jericho as a whole.

The survey, which is supported by the City and County Councils, will be carried out during November. We hope to start working early next year on using this as the starting point for a community plan.